Red Star OS

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Red Star OS
붉은별 사용자 영체계
Red Star OS bootsplash cut.png
The desktop of Red Star OS 3.0, localized with North Korean terminology and spelling
Developer Korea Computer Center, North Korea
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Closed source
Latest release 3.0
Marketing target General Public
Available in Korean
Platforms i386 (x86)
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)
Default user interface KDE 3

Red Star OS (Chosŏn'gŭl붉은별; MRPulgŭnbyŏl) is a North Korean Linux operating system. Development started in 1998 at the Korea Computer Center (KCC). Prior to its release, computers in North Korea typically used Ubuntu.[1]

Version 3.0 was released in the summer of 2013, but as of 2014 version 1.0 continues to be more widely used. It is only offered in a Korean language edition, localized with North Korean terminology and spelling.[2]


Red Star OS features a modified Mozilla Firefox browser titled Naenara used for browsing the Naenara web portal on the North Korean internet network known as Kwangmyong. The word Naenara means My country in Korean. Naenara comes with two search engines. Other software includes a text editor, an e-mail client, audio and video players, and games.[3] Version 3, like its predecessor, runs Wine, a piece of software that allows Windows programs to be run under Linux.[4]

Red Star OS 3.0, like its predecessors, uses a KDE 3 desktop. However, 3.0 more closely resembles Apple's OS X before Lion whereas previous versions more closely resembled Windows XP; current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was seen with an iMac on his desk in a 2013 photo, indicating a possible connection to the redesign.[3][5][6]

Media attention[edit]

2.0 version of the built-in games

The Japan-based, North Korea-affiliated newspaper Choson Sinbo interviewed two Red Star OS programmers in June 2006.[1] In February 2010, a Russian international student at the Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang purchased a copy and posted about it on his LiveJournal account; Russian television station RT then picked up his LiveJournal post and translated it into English.[3] English-language technology blogs, including Engadget and Osnews, as well as South Korean wire services such as Yonhap, went on to repost the content.[2][7][8] In late 2013, Will Scott, who was visiting the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, purchased a copy of version 3 from a KCC retailer in southern Pyongyang, and uploaded screenshots to the internet.[4]

In 2015, two German researchers speaking at the Chaos Communication Congress[9] described the internal operation of the OS.[10] The North Korean government wants to track the underground market of USB flash drives used to exchange foreign films, music and writing,[11] and the system watermarks all files on portable media attached to computers.[12]


Version 1.0[edit]

The first version appeared in 2003; very little information is known regarding it.

Version 2.0[edit]

The development of version 2.0 began in March 2008, the system was completed on June 3, 2009. Desktop system based on the appearance and the Windows XP - resembles. North Korea in 2000 North Korean Won (approx. £ 550) is sold. Browser is a way of you NaeNae bearing the name software. The application of the North Korean Internet portal of the same name NaeNae or use North Korean Internet browsing. They released on 6 August 2009, a software package to the system, which is 4000 North Korean won (approx. £ 1100) will be.

The operating system uses a special keyboard layout that differs greatly from the South Korean standard. One of the interesting - in addition to Windows XP voices can also use - to a font customization of lorem ipsum of '내 나라 의 푸른 하늘' appears, which means "My Country Blue Sky" and it does not cover all of the Korean signs, unlike the rest of the sample text in general.

Version 3.0[edit]

Version 3.0 was introduced on April 15, 2012, and looks most reminiscent of OS X systems. The new version supports both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.

The operating system comes pre-installed with a number of applications that monitor its users. If the user tries to disable security functions, the operating system may restart or destroy itself. In addition, a watermarking tool is integrated into the system, which marks all media content with the user's hard drive serial number. This makes it possible for the North Korean authority to trace the spread of files. The system also has a hidden "anti-virus" software that is capable of removing censored files that are remotely stored by the North Korean secret service. There is a user group called "administrator" in the operating system. Users, however, can't gain full privileges to the system, even if they're administrators. Commands such as sudo and su are not available.[9]

The operating system uses the Kaspersky Anti-Virus alert tone illegally and goes against the original principles of Linux, including freedom of expression.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kim, Chi-yong (2006-06-21), "〈민족정보산업의 부흥 -상-〉 《우리식 콤퓨터조작체계(OS) 》의 개발과 도입", Choson Sinbo (in Korean), archived from the original on 2007-12-23 
  2. ^ a b Nam, Hyeon-ho (2010-03-03), 北, 독자적 컴퓨터 SINMUS 운영체제 '붉은별' 개발, Yonhap News (in Korean), retrieved 2013-01-23 
  3. ^ a b c "North Korea's "secret cyber-weapon": brand new Red Star OS", RT, 2010-03-01, retrieved 2013-01-23 
  4. ^ a b Williams, Martyn (January 31, 2014). "North Korea's Red Star OS Goes Mac". North Korea Tech. Martyn Williams. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Apple's Mac OS X imitated in latest North Korea system". BBC News. 2014-02-05. 
  6. ^ "North Korean computers get 'Apple' makeover". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Holwerda, Thom (2009-03-04), "North Korea Develops Its Own Linux Distribution", OSNews, retrieved 2013-01-23 
  8. ^ Flatley, Joseph L. (2009-03-04), "North Korea's Red Star OS takes the 'open' out of 'open source'", Engadget, retrieved 2013-01-23 
  9. ^ a b Florian Grunow; Niklaus Schiess (2015-12-28). Lifting the Fog on Red Star OS - A deep dive into the surveillance features of North Korea's operating system. Chaos Communication Congress 32. 
  10. ^ Jeremy Wagstaff and James Pearson (27 December 2015). "Paranoid: North Korea's computer operating system mirrors its political one". Reuters. 
  11. ^ James Pearson (27 March 2015). "The $50 device that symbolizes a shift in North Korea". Reuters. 
  12. ^ "RedStar OS Watermarking". Insinuator. 

External links[edit]